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Opinion » Columnists

The Ku Klux Klan once again controls Indiana

12.11.2012
 
Pages: 123
The Ku Klux Klan once again controls Indiana. 48484.jpeg

At first glance, the results of America's 2012 election appear to be a triumph for social, racial, and economic justice and progress in the United States:  California voters passed a proposition requiring the rich to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden; Two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the recreational use of marijuana, while Massachusetts approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; Washington and two other states, Maine and Maryland, legalized same-sex marriages (the first states to do so by popular vote), and Minnesota voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned such marriages.

Massachusetts voters also ousted Scott Brown, the United States senator whose 2010 election victory was fueled largely by his opposition to health care reform, and Wisconsin voters not only chose to reelect Barack Obama, they also elected America's first openly gay politician, Tammy Baldwin, to the United States Senate.

The election results in Wisconsin were surprising, particularly since Scott Walker, the state's virulently anti-labor, Republican governor, survived a hotly contested recall election just a few months ago, and Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate, is the Congressional representative for Wisconsin's first district.

In the months leading up to the general election, many Republican candidates also began to distance themselves from the views of the billionaire-supported (and some believe covertly racist) "tea party" movement, causing some pundits to opine that this movement no longer had a significant impact on the political landscape.

But these pundits failed to look at Indiana, where election results have potentially turned the clock back to the 1920s-an era of racism and repression when D.C. Stephenson and his Ku Klux Klan controlled Indiana's Republican party apparatus and its governor, Edward L. Jackson.

 

As I noted in a previous Pravda.Ru article, Boycott Indiana (January 11, 2012), Indiana has always had a sordid reputation when it comes to race relations:  "Sometimes referred to as the 'northernmost southern state,' Indiana's Constitution of 1851 banned African-Americans from coming into or settling in the state.  During the 1920s . . . up to one-third of all white males in the state were members of [the Ku Klux Klan], and in 1930, in the City of Marion, two African-American men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were the victims of a highly publicized lynching."

Recently Mitch Daniels, Indiana's outgoing governor, whose hostility against labor is even more virulent than Walker's, added a new category of victims to Indiana's Klan inspired politics:  Indiana workers.  As I explained in Boycott, "On his first day in office, Daniels signed an order ending collective bargaining with public employee unions, and he continued to worship at the altar of "privatization" by selling off bits of Indiana to corporate interests." 

During his tenure, Daniels, aided by his corrupt compatriots House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro-Tem David Long, also "fast-tracked" a deceptively named "right-to-work" law through the Indiana legislature.  This law diminishes the financial resources of labor unions, yet forces them to represent workers in union shops who refuse to pay union dues.  Not surprisingly, Daniels, hypocrite that he is, did not let his worship of privatization deter him from personally continuing to profit from taxpayer dollars, because, when he steps down as governor, he will become president of the publicly funded Purdue University.

In another Pravda.Ru article, May God Damn Wall Street, the Republican Party, and the Supreme Court (February 14, 2012), I further explained why the Republican party's war on workers in Indiana has been particularly effective:  "Political corruption flourishes in Indiana, because, unlike Wisconsin, it has no recall process, so venal politicians cannot be removed from office until the next scheduled election, which, in turn, gives them ample time to gorge themselves on the corporate trough.  And there is no mandated referendum process, so these same politicians can easily ram through legislation that benefits their corporate masters, even when it hurts their constituents."

Yet what happened in this "next scheduled election"?  Mike Pence, a member of the Congressional "tea party" caucus, was elected to replace Daniels; "Tea Party" darling Jackie Walorski, a local embarrassment while serving as an Indiana state representative, is now destined to become a national one after winning a seat in the United States Congress; Richard Mourdock, another "tea party" darling, ran a highly competitive race to be an United States Senator, even after uttering controversial remarks about rape and abortion; and a "Super Majority" of Republicans, many of whom have openly declared war on workers, was elected to the Indiana Legislature.

The incongruous moral of this story is even though racial, ethnic and religious minorities resent the Klan and Klan inspired politics, a majority of Indiana workers have actually seemed to embrace them.

The late anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko once said, "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed," and Indiana's election results alarmingly confirm this reality.  So the question must be asked:  Why are the oppressed often so willing to surrender their minds to their oppressors?

Pages: 123
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